Sara Mack is a Michigan native who grew up with her nose in books. She is a wife and a hockey mom on top of being trapped in an office - which now has a window! - forty hours a week. Her spare time is spent one-clicking on Amazon and devouring books on her Kindle, cleaning up after her kids and two elderly cats, attempting to keep her flower garden alive, and, of course, writing. She has an unnatural affinity for dark chocolate, iced tea, and bacon.
Tell the readers a little about you.
Hello! My name is Sara Mack. I'm a Michigan native who grew up with her nose in books. I've been married to my hubs (who I met at a gas station) for fifteen years, and we have two children ages 12 and 9. My daughter (and husband) both play hockey, so I'm a hockey mom on top of my full time gig at a local college. Writing is what I love to do, and it consumes all of my spare time. I also consider bacon and dark chocolate food groups.
What genre do you mostly write in and why?
Romance is my genre - contemporary, YA, and paranormal. I write stories I would want to read and my taste varies. One thing is for sure - I tend to pick up books that have a romance theme. They may be a mystery or action-packed, but there has to be a love story.
What inspired you to write your first book?
I stumbled into it. It happened like this: a friend of mine was writing some fan fiction, and we were bouncing ideas off one another. After some time as her beta reader, I thought it might be fun to give writing a try myself. One night, in the shower (the BEST thinking spot ever), I had the basic idea for the first book in my trilogy, Guardian. I wanted to write a ghost story. I had no idea where that ghost story would go, but I started writing chapters here and there, passing them on to my friends for feedback. As the characters and the story started to expand, my hobby became an obsession. What was supposed to be one novel morphed into three, and my friends were like, “You have to do something with this!” So, I researched self-publishing and here I am.
What's the earliest memory you have of writing a story?
I remember being in elementary school and creating my own "book orders" for my friends, like the Scholastic book orders my kids still bring home. They would check off what they wanted, and I would create the books, complete with illustrations. I wish I had kept some of those!
Do you have any advice for other writers?
If you write as a hobby, and you’re just looking to share your work, go for it! It’s fantastic and rewarding. If you are considering this as a full-time career, be prepared. My primary job is in an office forty hours a week; writing is a hobby that I only wish could be full time. The only reason I decided to publish was due to the prodding of friends who read my story. I thought, “Hell. Why not? Maybe I can make a little extra money to pay for my daughter’s hockey season.” Let’s just say I haven’t made enough to cover one year’s ice bill. Make sure you do your research (as far as copyright and such), and make sure you put your best work out there. Nothing hurts worse than a bad review, especially if it is over something that can be easily fixed, like typos.
Is there a message in any of your novels that you want readers to grasp?
I never plan on a specific message because the story evolves as I go. My goal is to entertain. Looking back, I think there are a few common themes in my writing - growing as a person, becoming stronger despite adversity, and discovering the right path for you.
Are experiences within your books based on someone you know or events in your own life?
Even though I don't plan on it, a lot of what I've experienced ends up in my stories. Everything is loosely based, however. For example, in Guardian, Emma gets a summer job at a golf course. I used to work at a golf course. In Allegiant, Emma travels to St. Thomas - one of my favorite places. In Sparrow, the story is set at Buhl Lake. My family and I spend every Fourth of July there. I think describing locations I've actually visited, or things I've done, makes the writing process fun for me and the reading experience more authentic.
What inspires you?
Anyone who puts a piece of them out there artistically inspires me, be it writing, music, acting, or art. It takes a great deal of creativity, time, and courage to love something so much that others could rip to shreds in a second.
What do you enjoy the most about writing books?
Falling in love with my characters and having readers tell me they fell in love with them, too. Meeting and interacting with so many people that share a passion for books like me.
What is the hardest part of writing books?
Second-guessing yourself ALL.THE.TIME.
What are your current projects?
Right now I'm finishing up a spin-off of my latest release, Sparrow. The title is Cardinal, and it is Jen's story. I felt bad for what I did to her in Sparrow! It wasn't intentional; it just wound up happening that way.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
From Cardinal, releasing before the end of 2015 (I hope):
I stand up at the sound of Latson’s voice. He gestures for me to follow him and we walk a few steps away from the group. He takes my free hand, threading his fingers through mine.
“Dean’s ready whenever you are,” he says. “He didn't want to interrupt your goodbyes to tell you.”
“So he made you do it?”
“I volunteered.” Latson gives me an uneasy smile. “I wanted a few minutes alone with you.”
I don’t like his expression. “Is everything okay?”
He nods. “Do you like Oliver’s picture?”
“I love it,” I say. “He’s so thoughtful. You’re doing a good job with him, you know.”
Latson ignores my compliment and runs his thumb over the back of my hand. “You remembered to pack my shirt, right?”
“Of course.” Latson gave me one of his white tees that suspiciously smelled like he dropped a bottle of cologne on it. “Everything in my suitcase is going to smell like you.”
His smile grows more genuine. “I may have added another one to your bag. I hope you don’t mind.”
I wind my hand, the one that holds Oliver’s picture, around his waist. “I don’t, but I wish you had crawled inside instead.”
Latson lets out a breath and rests his forehead against mine. “How did this day get here so fast?”
“I don’t know,” I say. “Time always does the opposite of what I want.”
We stand there in silence before he brings his hand to cradle my face. He kisses me, catching my mouth with his and taking his time to brand every part. When I think the kiss is over, he surprises me by capturing my lips again.
“I want that burned into your memory,” he whispers. “No one else gets to kiss you. No one.”
“Okay,” I breathe. Like the thought would cross my mind. “I’m going to miss you.”
“Not as much as I’ll miss you.”
“Jen?” I hear Dean. “You ready?”
No, I think, but “yes” comes out of my mouth. Latson squeezes my fingers before letting me go. Reluctantly, he gives me his lopsided dimple smile. “Go be a rock star.”
Taking a deep breath, I turn around and follow Dean to the security line.
“Remember – bodyguard,” Carter says pointing two fingers from his eyes to mine.
“Call me!” Gwen grins.
“Good luck,” Pete mouths.
I give them all a silent wave before stepping up to show my boarding pass and ID. Once Dean and I make it to the other side of the agent, I look over my shoulder one last time. My brother stands behind Jules with his hands on her shoulders, and Gwen, Carter, and Felix are next to them wearing smiles. Latson is off to the side holding Oliver in his arms, and he’s showing his nephew how to make the infamous devil’s horns rock symbol. Oliver copies him by folding his fingers down and tucking in his thumb, then holding his index finger and pinky up for me to see. My heart swells at how much love and support is standing there for me. I flash the symbol back.
I’m only related to two of these people, but they are all like family.